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World Cup Wrap-Up 1998/99

Team Reports | World Championship Coverage


 Yes that's it, the World Cup season has concluded for 1998/99. There's been some pretty interesting results in the past few weeks. Unfortunately we have no race details - don't hold your breath waiting for coverage of cross country skiing on Australian television. Here's a short summary as read blind off the internet.

Lahti World Cup

Men 15km classic
1 Daehlie NOR
2 Villisov RUS
3 Estil NOR
4 Jevne NOR
5 Bergstrom SWE

22 Donald Farley CAN

Women 5km classic
1 Lazutina RUS
2 Martensen NOR
3 Neumannova CZE
4 Belmondo ITA
5 Baranova RUS


Daehlie bounced back quickly after his disappointing World Championships(only one individual bronze medal) and put the overall World Cup beyond doubt. A very impressive performance from young Russian Vladimir Villisov, who took a big step up in Ramsau with a couple of top 10 performances. Last season his best result was a single 28th place. Congratulations to Donald Farley for his highest World Cup placing.

Two in a row for Lazutina after her gold medal in the Ramsau 30km. Relatively unknown team-mate Baranova also followed up on her strong result in the same race. No other surprises, of note Ljubov Egorova, who didn't start in Ramsau despite contrary rumours, crept in for 14th place in her first World Cup after her two year ban for doping.

Falun World Cup

Men 30km classic
1 Bergstrom SWE
2 Botvinov AUT
3 Myllylae FIN
4 Estil NOR
5 Fredriksson SWE

Women 15km classic
1 Lazutina RUS
2 Nageijkina RUS
3 Baranova RUS
4 Paruzzi ITA
5 Belmondo ITA


Bergstrom winning a World Cup! I nearly choked on my corn flakes. Bergstrom does actually have a reputation for coming into form at the end of the season, he even has two World Cup 3rd placings from March in 1994 and 1996. This was still a big surprise. [Readers of Australian Cross Country News might remember an article from the 1996 Autumn or Winter edition relating skiing form to music. Take note that Bergstrom was organising a Worlc Cup battle of the bands for this Falun weekend.] Bergstrom won this 30km with a not very large 6 seconds back to Botvinov.

Three in a row for Lazutina, Baranova picks it up another notch and takes her first World Cup podium finish. Very good result also from Paruzzi. World Cup leader Bente Martinsen surprisingly could only manage 8th place - she had not finished below 2nd in a classic race this season.

Holmenkollen World Cup

Men 50km skate
1 Botvinov AUT
2 Daehlie NOR
3 Hoffmann AUT
4 Prokurorov RUS
5 Valbusa ITA
6 Gutierrez SPA

19 Marcus Nash USA

Women 30km skate
1 Tschepalova RUS
2 Belmondo ITA
3 Smigun EST
4 Theurl AUT
5 Nageijkina RUS

22 Martensen NOR


The big question will be if the Austrians continue to crank when head coach Walter Maier leaves after this season. Stadlober is retiring, Gandler is also getting older. The juice from XCSkiworld is that Tschepalova will try to follow Botvinov's footsteps and attempt to become an Austrian. Might be just speculation, but Tschepalova didn't get a start in this year's World Championships and there are no major championships to miss out on next season if the Russian's don't want to let her go. But back to Holmenkollen, Tchepalova's performance here had a large effect on the overall World Cup standings. If Belmondo had won, she would have taken the World Cup with a clear 20 points from Bente Martensen, who's 22nd place here made no change to her overall points. Instead, both Belmondo and Martensen finished the season with 768 points, the first time in World Cup history that the overall title has had to go to a count back. This meant that Martensen became the World Cup Champion, with four individual victories to Belmondo's two. Martensen is the first Norwegian female to take the title since Anette Boe in 1985.

Okay Botvinov takes his second World Cup victory, good result for Hoffmann, great result for Juan Jesus with sixth place, fantastic result for Marcus Nash with 19th place. The party is probably still going on. This would be the best result from the USA since, since I don't know when, almost certainly in the last ten years. Okay, Koch and Caldwell were on the podium back in the early eighties but it has been a long time since drinks. Maybe someone from the USA would like to email to banooer@hotmail.com if they know the last time one of their countrymen had a better result than this. On the grape-vine it was heard that US team coach Christer Skog was aiming for one person in the top 20 at the World Championships. Instead they had three different people in the top 30, and now a top 20 in World Cup.

Overall World Cup standings:

Men

  1. 885 Bjorn Daelie NOR
  2. 685 Michal Botvinov AUT
  3. 573 Mika Myllylae FIN
  4. 484 Matthias Fredriksson SWE
  5. 465 Per Elofsson SWE
  6. 454 Anders Bergstrom SWE
  7. 404 Espen Bjervig NOR
  8. 370 Jari Isometsae FIN
  9. 369 Alexei Prokurorov RUS
  10. 318 Erling Jevne NOR

    full listing

Women

  1. 768 Bente Martensen NOR (4 wins)
  2. 768 Stephania Belmondo ITA (2wins)
  3. 705 Nina Gavriljuk RUS
  4. 666 Kristina Smigun EST
  5. 648 Larissa Lazutina RUS
  6. 618 Katerina Neumannova CZE
  7. 530 Svetlana Nageijkina RUS
  8. 507 Olga Danilova RUS
  9. 490 Anfisa Restzova RUS
  10. 430 Antonina Ordina SWE

    full listing

Just some food for thought for next season

Sweden was absolutely caned by the Swedish press during the World Championships this year, and if you talk to the average Swede on the street they will tell you how terrible Sweden is now and how Norway dominate the world skiing scene. Well three men in the top 6 in World Cup is pretty impressive, especially considering that Fredriksson and Elofsson finished the season in pretty average form. Sweden is on their way back as a skiing force.

After 6 years skiing World Cup Kristina Smigun made a big step up from 19th to 4th in the overall standings, claiming a World Cup victory and two World Championship medals along the way. It is hard to believe she is still only 22 years old.

A quick aside on the up and coming Russian men. The names Villisov, Ivanov, and Denisov didn't mean much to anyone last year, and probably still don't. But all three of these guys made it into the top 10 in World Cup this season, and two are now ranked in the top 30. Expect bigger and better things from the Russians in the next few seasons.

Two years ago two skiers in the top five, last year three skiers in the top eleven, now highest rankings 13th and 18th. What has happened to the Italian men? Strangely enough, six different Italians have won individual medals at World Junior Championships in the past 5 years and Italian so there should be new guys on the way up as well.

Stay tuned to the XC Files for news througout the Australian season.


XC is the official website of the Skiing Australia Cross Country Committee. It is produced with the assistance of the Australian Sports Commission, and the Kangaroo Hoppet. The editor can be contacted via hoppet@netc.net.au.